Australian Flying

From Little Things

Millions of words have been written about Qantas. John Gunn wrote the official history of Qantas in four 400-page volumes, the last of which was published in 2010. Qantas founder Sir Hudson Fysh wrote a trilogy of books on the airline and followed up with two more memoirs. A search on Amazon returns dozens and dozens more titles, including children’s books.

Some recent titles include Jim Eames’ Courage in the Skies, and Elizabeth Fysh’s When Chairmen were Patriots. Writing a four-page summary of 100 years of Qantas is a difficult assignment, so this article focuses on the relatable period when Qantas was driven by aviators, visionaries and engineers, with flying in their blood; before jetliners, booking systems, loyalty schemes and yield management.

In 2020, aviation means something completely different to what it did in 1920. True, the skies in 2020 are as empty of airliners as they were in 1920, but that is a glitch, courtesy of COVID-19. In 1920, flying was just emerging from the realms of science fiction. Aviation was glamorous. Most Australians had never seen an aeroplane, let alone ride in one.

Amongst the World War I airmen were many who would become peacetime heroes of unimaginable fame. The names of Charles Kingsford Smith, Bert Hinkler, and Keith and Ross Smith are still widely known a century later. Their ranks

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